Many people feel intimidated and overwhelmed when hearing legal terms like “probate”. Not to worry, Georgia’s probate process is the process of transferring the assets of a deceased person. See, it’s not too scary!
Knowing the Georgia probate process is also usual in drafting your will, as it affects how assets are distributed. Below are five Frequently Asked Questions on Georgia probate.
1. Does Probate Have to be Opened?
Probate does not always need to be opened, but in most cases, doing so is recommended. If the deceased owned property in their own name, and not jointly with another, probate must be opened. Additionally, legal experts recommend opening probate, as it limits future liability for the debts of the deceased.
2. What Does an Executor of a Will Do?
If the deceased had a valid will, the court will appoint the person named in the will as executor.
The executor has several important responsibilities. First, they are responsible for using the deceased’s assets to pay off debt, taxes, and any other bills.
Next, the executor is responsible for distributing the deceased’s assets according to the terms of the will. The executor should take great care in distributing assets of the estate, as improper distribution is often a cause for future legal disputes.
3. What Happens If There Is No Will?
If the deceased does not have a will, a family member can petition the court to be appointed as administrator. An Administrator of an estate has many of the same duties as an executor, however, rather than follow a will, they will distribute the estate according to Georgia law.
4. How Long Does the Probate Process Take?
The answer to this frequently asked question depends on several variables. For starters, one deciding factor is the size of the estate. More assets can complicate the distribution process.
Another variable is whether a will is in place or not. If not, it adds time to the schedule for the judge to appoint an administrator.
Complications can arise during the process that will add time to the schedule. For example, a party may petition the probate court if the will is not being followed. All being said, the probate process has an average range of 6 to 12 months.
5. Do I Need an Attorney for Probate in Georgia?
You are not legally required to hire an attorney, however, there are many advantages to working with an attorney who is experienced in probate law.
If you’re the executor of a will in Georgia but reside in another state, hiring an attorney is particularly beneficial, as they can represent you in probate court without your presence being required.
Dealing with the death of a loved one can be difficult, but probate doesn’t have to be. Working with an experienced probate attorney can help relieve stress, save you time, and money.
A Recap of Georgia Probate FAQs
This is just the tip of the iceberg for probate-related questions. This is why it is important to hire a legal professional to guide you through the process. If a complicated issue arises, you want someone with vast experience to help.
Contact Brian M. Douglas & Associates Today!
Brian M. Douglas & Associates are experts in Georgia probate law and are happy to answer any additional questions you may have. Call us today at 770-933-9009 or contact us online to schedule your consultation.